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Clinton, Giuliani Lengthen Leads in Presidential Nomination Trial Heats

Enjoy statistically significant leads over rest of field

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- The latest USA Today/Gallup poll shows Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani widening their leads in national support for their party's respective presidential nominations. Both candidates have seen an increase in support among their party's rank and file in the past month, and both are now at their high point in support since last year's midterm elections -- the unofficial kickoff for the 2008 campaign.

Democratic Party

The Feb. 9-11, 2007 poll finds 40% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents saying they are most likely to support Clinton for the party's 2008 presidential nomination. Clinton, who has led in every Democratic trial heat Gallup has run in the past two years, was at 29% support last month. Her previous high was 33% in December.

Clinton's support is nearly double that of any of the other 11 candidates listed in the poll. Twenty-one percent of Democrats support Barack Obama, with 14% supporting Al Gore and 13% supporting John Edwards. All other candidates fall below the 5% level.

Support for 2008 Democratic Presidential Nomination,
Democrats and Democratic Leaners

2007
Feb 9-11

2007
Jan 12-14

2006
Dec 11-14

2006
Nov 9-12

%

%

%

%

Hillary Rodham Clinton

40

29

33

31

Barack Obama

21

18

20

19

Al Gore

14

11

12

9

John Edwards

13

13

8

10

Bill Richardson

4

3

2

2

Wesley Clark

1

2

2

3

Christopher Dodd

1

1

1

1

Joe Biden

1

5

3

4

Dennis Kucinich

*

*

*

N/A

Tom Vilsack

*

*

1

1

Mike Gravel

*

N/A

N/A

N/A

Al Sharpton

--

1

N/A

N/A

John Kerry

N/A

8

6

7

Evan Bayh

N/A

N/A

1

2

Russ Feingold

N/A

N/A

N/A

1

Tom Daschle

N/A

N/A

N/A

1

 

 

 

 

Other

*

2

2

2

None

1

2

3

1

All/any

--

*

1

*

No opinion

3

4

5

6

* = Less than 0.5%

N/A = Not asked

Additionally, 67% of Democrats rate Clinton as their first or second choice for the nomination. Obama is the clear number two on this measure (with 42%), while Gore and Edwards tie for third at 26%.

Combined First and Second Choice for 2008 Democratic Presidential Nomination,
Democrats and Democratic Leaners

2007 Feb 9-11

%

Hillary Rodham Clinton

67

Barack Obama

42

Al Gore

26

John Edwards

26

Bill Richardson

7

Joe Biden

5

Wesley Clark

3

Christopher Dodd

2

Al Sharpton

1

Mike Gravel

1

Dennis Kucinich

1

Tom Vilsack

1

 

Other

3

None

3

All/any

--

No opinion

4

Note: Percentages add to more than 100% due to multiple responses.

When Clinton is matched up against only Obama in a hypothetical two-candidate race, she wins easily -- 62% to 33%. Last month, Clinton also led Obama in the head-to-head, but by a smaller 53% to 39% margin.

Of the four leading Democratic contenders, Clinton also has the highest favorable rating among Democrats at 82%. Obama is viewed favorably by 64%, but his lower rating is due to the fact that nearly one in four Democrats do not have an opinion of him yet. If the "no opinions" are factored out, Obama's favorable rating jumps to 83% -- similar to Clinton's 84% among the Democrats with an opinion of her. Edwards' favorable rating is 76% among those with an opinion of him.

Opinion of Leading Democratic Presidential Candidates,
Democrats and Democratic Leaners

Favorable

Unfavorable

No opinion

%

%

%

Clinton

82

16

2

Gore

72

25

3

Obama

64

13

24

Edwards

61

19

20

Republican Party

To this point, the Republican nomination seemed to be shaping up as a two-man race between Giuliani and John McCain. That may be changing as Giuliani's support among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents has increased in the past month. Now, 40% of Republicans say they are most likely to support Giuliani for the nomination compared to 24% for McCain, a statistically significant advantage for Giuliani. Last month, 31% of Republicans supported Giuliani and 27% supported McCain. No other candidate reaches the double-digits and only Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney register 5% or greater in terms of support.

Support for 2008 Republican Presidential Nomination,
Republicans and Republican Leaners

2007
Feb 9-11

2007
Jan 12-14

2006
Dec 11-14

2006
Nov 9-12

%

%

%

%

Rudy Giuliani

40

31

28

28

John McCain

24

27

28

26

Newt Gingrich

9

10

8

7

Mitt Romney

5

7

4

5

Sam Brownback

3

1

2

1

Jim Gilmore

2

2

N/A

N/A

Tommy Thompson

2

2

2

N/A

Mike Huckabee

2

1

2

1

Duncan Hunter

1

*

1

*

Tom Tancredo

1

N/A

N/A

N/A

George Pataki

1

3

1

1

Chuck Hagel

1

1

1

1

Condoleezza Rice ^

*

1

12

13

George Allen

N/A

N/A

2

2

Bill Frist

N/A

N/A

N/A

4

 

 

 

 

Other

1

2

2

2

None

2

3

3

3

All/any

--

--

--

--

No opinion

7

10

7

7

* = Less than 0.5%

N/A = Not asked

^ Rice responses in 2007 poll were volunteered; she was included in the list of candidates in 2006 polls.

A majority of Republicans, 62%, pick Giuliani as either their first or second choice as a 2008 presidential nominee. McCain is the first or second choice of just under half of Republicans (47%).

Combined First and Second Choice for 2008 Republican Presidential Nomination,
Republicans and Republican Leaners

2007 Feb 9-11

%

Rudy Giuliani

62

John McCain

47

Newt Gingrich

18

Mitt Romney

11

Sam Brownback

4

George Pataki

4

Duncan Hunter

4

Mike Huckabee

3

Tommy Thompson

3

Jim Gilmore

2

Tom Tancredo

2

Chuck Hagel

1

 

Other

5

None

3

All/any

--

No opinion

9

Note: Percentages add to more than 100% due to multiple responses.

Like Clinton, Giuliani has widened his lead over his perceived strongest challenger in a hypothetical two-candidate race. Fifty-seven percent of Republicans say they would choose Giuliani over McCain if the nomination came down to a choice of those two while 39% would pick McCain. Last month, 50% preferred Giuliani and 42% preferred McCain.

Giuliani also has an edge in Republicans' basic opinions of him. Eighty-one percent of Republicans have a favorable view of him compared with 68% for McCain. Giuliani and McCain are about equally well-known among Republicans.

Romney, who officially announced his candidacy yesterday, is still unknown to most Republicans -- 60% do not have an opinion of him either way. Those who do are twice as likely to have a positive as a negative opinion.

Opinion of Leading Republican Presidential Candidates,
Republicans and Republican Leaners

Favorable

Unfavorable

No opinion

%

%

%

Giuliani

81

11

9

McCain

68

19

13

Romney

27

13

60

Looking Ahead to 2008

While the current data give a sense of how the support for the parties' nominations would shake out if the election were held today, their predictive value for the actual outcome is less clear. In general, early Republican frontrunners have typically won their party's nomination even though some -- including Gerald Ford in 1976, Ronald Reagan in 1980, and George W. Bush in 2000 -- ended up in competitive contests.

Giuliani faces a unique challenge in that his views on key Republican issues (such as abortion, gay rights, and gun control) are out of step with the majority of the party. However, McCain and Romney have also taken positions in the past that are inconsistent with traditional Republican viewpoints.

Dark-horse candidates such as Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have had more success in the Democratic primaries, though when they have succeeded it was largely due to the fact that the clear frontrunner (Edward Kennedy in 1976 and Mario Cuomo in 1992) declined to run leaving an opening for the unknowns to emerge. When Democrats have had clear frontrunners who did in fact run, such as Walter Mondale in 1984 and Al Gore in 2000, they have won more often than not. Gary Hart, in 1988, stands as a notable exception.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,006 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Feb. 9-11, 2007. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

For results based on the sample of 425 Republicans or Republican leaners, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

For results based on the sample of 495 Democrats or Democratic leaners, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

7. (Asked of Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party): Next, I'm going to read a list of people who may be running in the Republican primary for president in the next election. After I read all the names, please tell me which of those candidates you would be most likely to support for the Republican nomination for President in the year 2008, or if you would support someone else. [ROTATED: Kansas Senator, Sam Brownback; Former Virginia Governor, Jim Gilmore; Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich; Former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani; Nebraska Senator, Chuck Hagel; Former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee; California Congressman, Duncan Hunter; Arizona Senator, John McCain; Former New York Governor, George Pataki; Former Massachusetts Governor, MittRomney; Colorado Congressman, Tom Tancredo; Former Wisconsin Governor, Tommy Thompson]

BASED ON 425 REPUBLICANS AND REPUBLICAN LEANERS

2007
Feb 9-11

2007
Jan 12-14

2006
Dec 11-14

2006
Nov 9-12

%

%

%

%

Rudy Giuliani

40

31

28

28

John McCain

24

27

28

26

Newt Gingrich

9

10

8

7

Mitt Romney

5

7

4

5

Sam Brownback

3

1

2

1

Jim Gilmore

2

2

N/A

N/A

Tommy Thompson

2

2

2

N/A

Mike Huckabee

2

1

2

1

Duncan Hunter

1

*

1

*

Tom Tancredo

1

N/A

N/A

N/A

George Pataki

1

3

1

1

Chuck Hagel

1

1

1

1

Condoleezza Rice ^

*

1

12

13

George Allen

N/A

N/A

2

2

Bill Frist

N/A

N/A

N/A

4

 

 

 

 

Other

1

2

2

2

None

2

3

3

3

All/any

--

--

--

--

No opinion

7

10

7

7

* = Less than 0.5%

N/A = Not asked

^ = Rice responses in 2007 poll were volunteered; she was included in the list of candidates in 2006 polls.

8. (Asked of Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party who named a candidate they support for the Republican nomination in 2008): Who would be your second choice?

COMBINED RESPONSES (Q.7-8): FIRST AND SECOND CHOICES

BASED ON 425 REPUBLICANS AND REPUBLICAN LEANERS

2007 Feb 9-11

%

Rudy Giuliani

62

John McCain

47

Newt Gingrich

18

Mitt Romney

11

Sam Brownback

4

George Pataki

4

Duncan Hunter

4

Mike Huckabee

3

Tommy Thompson

3

Jim Gilmore

2

Tom Tancredo

2

Chuck Hagel

1

 

Other

5

None

3

All/any

--

No opinion

9

Note: Percentages add to more than 100% due to multiple responses.

9.(Asked of Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party): S uppose the choice for the Republican presidential nomination narrows down to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani or Arizona Senator John McCain . Which one would you prefer the Republican Party nominate for president -- [ROTATED: Rudy Giuliani (or) John McCain]?

BASED ON 425 REPUBLICANS AND REPUBLICAN LEANERS

Giuliani

McCain

No opinion

%

%

%

2007 Feb 9-11

57

39

4

 

 

 

2007 Jan 5-7

50

42

8

10.(Asked of Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party): As you may know, John McCain has been a strong supporter of the war in Iraq and of President Bush's plans to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. Does this make you -- [ROTATED: much more likely to support McCain for president, somewhat more likely, does it make no difference, does it make you somewhat less likely, (or) much less likely to support McCain for president]?

BASED ON 425 REPUBLICANS AND REPUBLICAN LEANERS

           

Much
more
likely

Somewhat
more
likely

No
difference

Somewhat
less
likely

Much
less
likely

No
opinion

2007 Feb 9-11

21%

22

37

11

8

1

11.(Asked of Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party): Next, I'm going to read a list of people who may be running in the Democratic primary for president in the next election. After I read all the names, please tell me which of those candidates you would be most likely to support for the Democratic nomination for President in the year 2008, or if you would support someone else. [ROTATED: Delaware Senator, Joe Biden; Retired General, Wesley Clark; New York Senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton; Connecticut Senator, Christopher Dodd; Former North Carolina Senator, John Edwards; Former Vice President, Al Gore; Former Alaska Senator, Mike Gravel; Ohio Congressman, Dennis Kucinich; Illinois Senator, Barack Obama; New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson; The Reverend, Al Sharpton; Former Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack]

BASED ON 495 DEMOCRATS AND DEMOCRATIC LEANERS

2007
Feb 9-11

2007
Jan 12-14

2006
Dec 11-14

2006
Nov 9-12

%

%

%

%

Hillary Rodham Clinton

40

29

33

31

Barack Obama

21

18

20

19

Al Gore

14

11

12

9

John Edwards

13

13

8

10

Bill Richardson

4

3

2

2

Wesley Clark

1

2

2

3

Christopher Dodd

1

1

1

1

Joe Biden

1

5

3

4

Dennis Kucinich

*

*

*

N/A

Tom Vilsack

*

*

1

1

Mike Gravel

*

N/A

N/A

N/A

Al Sharpton

--

1

N/A

N/A

John Kerry

N/A

8

6

7

Evan Bayh

N/A

N/A

1

2

Russ Feingold

N/A

N/A

N/A

1

Tom Daschle

N/A

N/A

N/A

1

 

 

 

 

Other

*

2

2

2

None

1

2

3

1

All/any

--

*

1

*

No opinion

3

4

5

6

* = Less than 0.5%

N/A = Not asked

12. (Asked of Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party who named a candidate they support for the Democratic nomination in 2008): Who would be your second choice?

COMBINED RESPONSES (Q.11-12): FIRST AND SECOND CHOICES

BASED ON 495 DEMOCRATS AND DEMOCRATIC LEANERS

2007 Feb 9-11

%

Hillary Rodham Clinton

67

Barack Obama

42

Al Gore

26

John Edwards

26

Bill Richardson

7

Joe Biden

5

Wesley Clark

3

Christopher Dodd

2

Al Sharpton

1

Mike Gravel

1

Dennis Kucinich

1

Tom Vilsack

1

 

Other

3

None

3

All/any

--

No opinion

4

Note: Percentages add to more than 100% due to multiple responses.

13. (Asked of Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party): Suppose the choice for the Democratic presidential nomination narrows down to Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. Which one would you prefer the Democratic Party nominate for president -- [ROTATED: Hillary Rodham Clinton (or) Barack Obama]?

BASED ON 495 DEMOCRATS AND DEMOCRATIC LEANERS

Clinton

Obama

No opinion

%

%

%

2007 Feb 9-11

62

33

5

 

 

 

2007 Jan 12-14

53

39

8

Gallup

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